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CD review JEFF SCOTT SOTO "Retribution"

Veröffentlicht am 28. Oktober 2017 von Markus W. in Jeff Scott Soto, News, CD Review, Hardrock, Melodic Metal, Melodic Rock, Rock, Frontiers Music

CD review JEFF SCOTT SOTO "Retribution"

(8/10) Jeff Scott Soto is a busy man these days. Not only that he enriched the excellent Sons Of Apollo album with his brilliant voice, he also recorded a new solo album entitled “Retribution”.

We don’t need to beat around the bush; Jeff Scott Soto belongs to the best singers in today’s rock world. His voice has a unique timbre and a lot of feel. It was guitar wizard Yngwie Malmsteen who immediately recognized Soto’s talent, hiring the singer for his first two solo records. With such a superb start Soto was involved in Talisman, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and some more, always also keeping an eye on his solo career.

“Retribution” is already the sixth record with his name being on the front cover. As not expected different also this longplayer comes with powerful songs, sometimes more metallic and mostly terrific hardrock.

The singer has an excellent feeling for great melodies that he weaves into each of the eleven new tracks. Never becoming too trivial and soft Soto manages to combine a down to earth approach with catchy melodies that easily find their way into your mind.

Numbers such as “Rage of the Year” and “Breakout” really create a wow-effect, including the risk of getting addicted to them. I mentioned the feel that comes with Soto’s voice and there is no better song than the soulful “Feel Like Forever” transporting emotions right into your heart.

Of you’re a fan of warm and heavy rock music there’s no way to skirt around “Retribution”. Jeff Scott Soto’s new longplayer fires on all cylinders and belongs to best hardrock releases this year.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Retribution 
  2. Inside/Outside
  3. Rage Of The Year 
  4. Reign Again 
  5. Feels Like Forever 
  6. Last Time
  7. Bullet For My Baby 
  8. Song For Joey 
  9. Breakout 
  10. Dedicate To You 
  11. Autumn

 

Label: Frontiers Music

Genre: Hardrock

Release Date EU: November 10th

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CD review SONS OF APOLLO “Psychotic Symphony”

Veröffentlicht am 11. Oktober 2017 von Markus W. in Sons Of Apollo, Prog Metal, Prog Rock, Rock, Hardrock, Classic Rock, News, InsideOut, CD Review, Mike Portnoy, Derek Sherinian, Billy Sheehan, Jeff Scott Soto, Ron Bumblefoot Thal

CD review SONS OF APOLLO “Psychotic Symphony”

(10/10) It did escape my notice that Apollo, the ancient God of poem and music, has some sons. The first time I heard of the news was a couple of months ago when a band came up to surface, calling themselves Sons Of Apollo. So, who are these guys?

I’m hesitant, using the term ‘super group’ since it’s used in such an excessive way that already the combination of some musicians, being known from other bands, become a ‘super group’ these days. This is different with Sons Of Apollo, a band that definitely lives up to the deepest meaning of the word.

Sons Of Apollo is no less than Mike Portnoy (d), Derek Sherinian (key), Billy Sheehan (b), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (g) and Jeff Scott Soto (v), representing the who is who of hard rock music on Champions League level.

Things began in the early 2017 when some first rumors mentioned this upcoming project, an endeavor that was announced to public in August this year. It was the two ex-Dream Theater veterans Portnoy and Sherinian that kick started Sons Of Apollo, and in no time partners in crime have been found with Sheehan, Soto and Thal. This quintet worked on the band’s debut “Psychotic Symphony", an album that will hit the shelves on October 20st and comes via InsideOut.

The beauty of this album is that it sounds intuitive, organic and warm. Each of the songs, giving a 58 minutes running time, is pure ear candy. Even though the tracks have many layers and are sometimes more complex, it’s an ease that acts as an overall foundation, making the album to a great listening experience, rather than a complicated musical journey. “Psychotic Symphony” puts the songs into forefront instead of musical egos or endless solo sections. Each of the five involved guys has a long track record in rock and metal history and they don’t need to prove anything to anybody. That gives the album the mentioned lightness, with everybody involved adding the best of his field of expertise without losing the bigger picture.

The opener is actually a good example for the mentioned. Sons Of Apollo kick-off the album with an eleven minutes epos entitled “God of the Sun”. This masterpiece mirrors in a good fashion what listeners can expect of the entire album. Starting with soundscapes, built in Sherinian’s keyboards, the songs develops to a rhythmic rocker that includes heavier sections, filigree riffs and Jeff Scott Soto’s voice as the cherry on the cake. All fits together in a perfect manner, making this opener to a first highlight on the album, with eight additional masterpieces following this great start.

Things get heavier with the grooving “Coming Home” before the bands favor for classic rock gets into the picture with "Signs of the Time”. The tune reminded me of the earlier Dream Theater as well as it includes a Deep Purple vibe in other sections. This pattern comes back with songs like the excellent “Divine Addition” that refreshes the 80’s Deep Purple sound, mainly due to the guitar lines and the organ/keys. Talking about the keyboards means also mentioning the short interlude “Figaro’s Whore”, bringing Rainbow and Purple to my mind.

I could continue with mentioning each of the songs, but it’s a waste of time. I guess you got already a pretty good idea about what this excellent longplayer is about. Now you should stop reading and start listening. “Psychotic Symphony” is a masterpiece that finishes with another eleven minutes smasher. “Opus Maximus” is what the title promises – a great piece of music, this time an instrumental. Normally I’m not the biggest fan of instrumental music, but here it’s different. Again, it’s not only stringing together solos, it’s about awesome instrumental sections that create unforgettable arcs of melodies with a lot of twists and turns. “Psychotic Symphony” belongs to the best records 2017 has seen so far and I guess Apollo would be very proud of his ‘sons’.

 

(10/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. God of the Sun
  2. Coming Home
  3. Signs of the Time
  4. Labyrinth
  5. Alive
  6. Lost In Oblivion
  7. Figaro's Whore
  8. Divine Addiction
  9. Opus Maximus

 

Label InsideOut Records

Genre: Progressive Rock/Metal

Release Date EU: October 20th, 2017

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Here's the new video from SONS OF APOLLO

Veröffentlicht am 15. September 2017 von Markus W. in Sons Of Apollo, News, Prog Metal, Prog Rock, Rock, Hardrock, Video, Billy Sheehan, Mike Portnoy, Derel Sherinian, Bubblefoot, Jeff Scott Soto, InsideOut

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CD review SOTO "Divak"

Veröffentlicht am 22. März 2016 von Markus W. in Jeff Scott Soto, Hardrock, News, CD Review, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Symphonic Metal

(8/10) Jeff Scott Soto is one of the best hardrock and metal singer. No doubt. The guy from New York can look back on great cooperations he did with guitar wizards such as Yngwie Malmsteen, Axel Rudi Pell and Brian May. But also his contribution to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra was a real highlight and stays unforgotten. 

It was in 2015 when the singer with the awesome voice started something new under the banner of Soto. "Insight the Vertigo" was the first album and I was surprised about the heaviness of this release.

One year later the iconic singer publishs his second longplayer that continues the heavy trip, that was kicked off by "Insight the Vertigo". "Divak" is the name giver for this album and it's also the first song on this record. But instead of being a 'real' number it's a bombastic intro, followed by "Weight of the World". Listening to this song clearly states, that this disc isn't containing softened hardrock. "Divak" is heavy and powerful with the opener acting as a first statement.

"Freak Show" comes next, a track that was chosen to be the first single release for the new longplayer. The song has a really good chorus, but comes also with a certain complexity. It took me a few rounds to discover the full joy of the "Freak Show".

In case you want it a bit slower and more soulful you should check out "In My Darkest Hour". This powerful half ballad is a highlight on "Divak". After such a laid-back moment it's time for some more rock. "Suckerpunch" has an alternative rock/metal expression before the mighty "Time" takes over. Even though the chorus is again quite catchy the song comes with a gloomy vibe and slowly rolls over you. I would say that Southern metal meets hardrock.

The album has with "Cyper Masquerade" and "Unblame" also two tunes that can't live up to the high level of the rest of "Divak". However, all the other tracks can easily compensate for this and in the end Soto releases a melodic metal album that, already based on his voice, can easily compete with other releases in this genre.

But one question remains: Who or what is 'Divak'?

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Divak
  2. Weight of the World
  3. Freak Show
  4. Unblame
  5. Cyber Masquerade
  6. In My Darkest Hour
  7. Forgotten
  8. Suckerpunch
  9. Time
  10. Misfired
  11. Fall from Grace
  12. Awakened

 

Label: earMUSIC

Genre: Alternative Metal

Release Date EU: April 1st, 2016

CD review SOTO "Divak"
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CD review SOTO "Inside the vertigo"

Veröffentlicht am 24. Januar 2015 von Markus W. in Soto, Jeff Scott Soto, Saigon Kick, Gus G., Power Metal, Nu Metal, Alternative Metal, CD Review, News

(8/10) Singer Jeff Scott Soto is a constant factor in the hardrock/metal scene. He was singing for Yngwie Malmsteen as well as for Axel Rudi Pell and W.E.T.. And he was/is part of the Trans Siberian Orchestra too where he did great performances. Soto's vocal range is quite broad and he can sing everything from hardrock to power metal. 

Looking on Soto's last outputs a lot of them have been in the fields of hardrock and even AOR, but as the frontman described that he wanted to go back to the roots with his newest solo album called "Inside the vertigo".

And the iconic singer keeps his promise. The album is much heavier than what I expected. The opener "Final say" is an excellent start into the album that feels like a blast. It is a pumping bassline and a heavy guitar sound that makes it a metal anthem. When Soto states "I'm actually quite pissed off about a lot of things" and that Soto became the outlet of it, than the opener underlines this.

And it continues that way. "The fall" is a hard alternative metal track that presents Soto from another perspective. It's a dark and gloomy track. The same goes for "Wrath" which has a thrashy riff that is even heavier than "The fall". For me "Wrath" is one of the best songs on the album.

Power metal is also what you get from "Break". The song has a quite modern guitar sound that is combined with a more traditional power metal riff.

The heart of the album is the nine minutes long "End of days". The tune is a more complex one with different layers. It is a great rock song that is kept a bit slower (in the first half), with a senseful guitar. I was party reminded to Pink Floyd as well as to "Fake healer" from The Bollock Brothers when it comes to some keyboard samples. The tune builds up to a mulitlayered power metal song in the second half. Nine minutes of variety which are very entertaining.

With "When I'm older" and "Jealousy" the album contains also two song that reminds more to the hardrocking Soto before "Trance" and "Karma's kiss" makes the clear statement that those moments are the exception and not the rule on "Inside the vertigo".

What maybe helped Jeff Scott Soto to release a surprisingly heavy album was the cooperation with Gus G. and Mike Orlando. But also Jason Bieler (was he involved in "Karma's kiss" or is it only me hearing some Saigon Kick in the melody line?) and Joel Hoekstra supported the frontman on "Inside the vertigo".

To conclude: "Inside the vertigo" became an album that is much heavier than expected. It combines nu metal with alternative metal and power metal. I haven't foreseen such an album from Jeff Scott Soto but I'm very positive surprised. Great music from a singer that belongs to the champoins league in hardrock/metal.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Final say
  2. The fall
  3. Wrath
  4. Break
  5. Narcissistically yours
  6. End of days
  7. Inside the vertigo
  8. When I'm older
  9. Trance
  10. Jealousy
  11. Karma's kiss
  12. Fall to pieces

 

Label: earMUSIC

Genre: Alternative Metal

CD review SOTO "Inside the vertigo"
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